In Plato’s Apology (29a-b), Socrates agues that he does not fear death; indeed, to fear death is a sign of ignorance. It is to claim to know what one in fact does not know (Ap. 29 a-b). Perhaps, Socrates suggests, death is not a great evil after all, but “the greatest of all goods.” At the end of the dialogue, after the judges have voted on the final verdict and Socrates has received the death penalty, the (...) philosopher considers two common views of death: that death is a long dreamless sleep and that death is a journey to another place - Hades. According to Socrates, either of these views of death would be acceptable to him; the one, because he would receive a wonderful rest with no dreams to disturb him; the other, because he would be able to talk philosophy with those who had gone before with impunity. In this paper, I will examine Socrates’ view of death, and I will argue that, according to Socrates, there could be a third perspective on death that will not only make him truly immortal in a certain way, but will also immortalize the practice of Socratic philosophy. Hence, Socrates embraces his sentence because dying at the right time and dying in the right way provides him the possibility of a good death. <br><br>. (shrink)
In this article I defend innocuousism– a weak form of Epicureanism about the putative badness of death. I argue that if we assume both mental statism about wellbeing and that death is an experiential blank, it follows that death is not bad for the one who dies. I defend innocuousism against the deprivation account of the badness of death. I argue that something is extrinsically bad if and only if it leads to states that are intrinsically (...) bad. On my view, sometimes dying may be less good than living, but it is never bad to die. (shrink)
The words quoted above distill the common secular conception of death. If we decline the traditional religious reassurances of an afterlife, or their fuzzy new age equivalents, and instead take the hard-boiled and thoroughly modern materialist view of death, then we likely end up with Gonzalez-Cruzzi. Rejecting visions of reunions with loved ones or of crossing over into the light, we anticipate the opposite: darkness, silence, an engulfing emptiness. But we would be wrong.
Death and Philosophy presents a wide ranging and fascinating variety of different philosophical, aesthetic and literary perspectives on death. Death raises key questions such as whether life has meaning of life in the face of death, what the meaning of "life after death" might be and whether death is part of a narrative that can be retold in different ways, and considers the various types of death, such as brain death, that challenge (...) mind-body dualism. The essays also include explorations of Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan perspectives on death and why death in some cultures, such as in Mexico's day of the dead, is celebrated. (shrink)
Cryonic suspension is a relatively new technology that offers those who can afford it the chance to be 'frozen' for future revival when they reach the ends of their lives. This paper will examine the ethical status of this technology and whether its use can be justified. Among the arguments against using this technology are: it is 'against nature', and would change the very concept of death; no friends or family of the 'freezee' will be left alive when he (...) is revived; the considerable expense involved for the freezee and the future society that will revive him; the environmental cost of maintaining suspension; those who wish to use cryonics might not live life to the full because they would economize in order to afford suspension; and cryonics could lead to premature euthanasia in order to maximize chances of success. Furthermore, science might not advance enough to ever permit revival, and reanimation might not take place due to socio-political or catastrophic reasons. Arguments advanced by proponents of cryonics include: the potential benefit to society; the ability to cheat death for at least a few more years; the prospect of immortality if revival is successful; and all the associated benefits that delaying or avoiding dying would bring. It emerges that it might be imprudent not to use the technology, given the relatively minor expense involved and the potential payoff. An adapted and more persuasive version of Pascal's Wager is presented and offered as a conclusive argument in favour of utilizing cryonic suspension. (shrink)
Introduction: "meaning in life and death : our stories" -- John Martin Fischer and Anthony B rueckner, "Why is death bad?", Philosophical studies, vol. 50, no. 2 (September 1986) -- "Death, badness, and the impossibility of experience," Journal of ethics -- John Martin Fischer and Daniel Speak, "Death and the psychological conception of personal identity," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 24 -- "Earlier birth and later death : symmetry through thick and thin," Richard Feldman, Kris (...) McDaniel, Jason R. Raibley, eds., The good, the right, life and death (Aldershot : Ashgate Publishing, 2006) -- "Why immortality is not so bad," International journal of philosophical studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (September 1994) -- John Martin Fischer and Ruth Curl, "Philosophical models of immortality in science fiction," in George Slusser et. al., eds., Immortal engines : life extension and immortality in science fiction and fantasy (Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, 1996) -- "Epicureanism about death and immortality," Journal of ethics, vol. 10, no. 4 -- "Stories," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 20 -- "Free will, death, and immortality : the role of narrative," Philosophical papers (Special issue : meaning in life) volume 34, number 3, November 2005 -- "Stories and the meaning of life," revised and expanded version of "A reply to Pereboom, Zimmerman, and Smith," part of a book symposium on John Martin Fischer, my way : essays on moral responsibility, philosophical books, vol. 47, no. 3. (shrink)
Despite widespread support for the claim that death can harm the one who dies, debate continues over how to rescue this harm thesis (HT) from Epicurus’s challenge. Disagreements focus on two of the three issues that any defense of HT must resolve: the subject of death’s harm and the timing of its injury. About the nature of death’s harm, however, a consensus has emerged around the view that death harms a subject (when it does) by depriving (...) her of the goods life would’ve afforded had she continued living. This deprivation view of death’s harm (DV) derives some of its credibility from the general deprivation theory of which it is an instance: mortal harm is subject to the same kind of analysis plausibly given of other non-mortal harms. Furthermore, note that the weak formulation of HT—asserting only that death can inflict harm, not that it always or necessarily does—accommodates the intuition that instances of rational suicide and justifiable euthanasia present cases in which death fails to harm. DV is equipped to explain how in these cases the harms involved in continued existence outweigh the goods of which death deprives the subject. I agree that suicide can be rational and that euthanasia can be justifiable. Likewise I accept both HT and DV as far as they go. But they do not go far enough. Specifically, I argue here that death harms even those who die as a result of rational suicide or justifiable euthanasia; that death’s harm is neither undifferentiated nor wholly contingent, but multifaceted and partly necessary; that the necessary part of death’s harm is distinctive, inflicting a peculiar restriction on the autonomy of one who dies; and, regarding the timing and subject issues, that this restriction harm is inflicted on the antemortem subject prior to her death. (shrink)
Fundamental principles : the nature of the dispute -- Types of euthanasia -- Psychiatric assisted suicide -- Neonates -- Incompetent adults -- Human life is sacred -- The slippery slope -- Medical views -- Four methods of easing death and their effect on doctors -- Looking further ahead.
This paper argues that Immanuel Kant’s practical philosophy contains a coherent, albeit implicit, defense of the legitimacy of capital punishment, one that refutes the most important objections leveled against it. I first show that Kant is consistent in his application of the ius talionis. I then explain how Kant can respond to the claim that death penalty violates the inviolable right to life. To address the most significant objection – the claim that execution violates human dignity – I argue (...) that motives of honor, as Kant conceives it, require a rational person to will her own execution, were she to commit murder. (shrink)
What is death? Do people survive death? What do we mean when we say that someone is "dying"? Presenting a clear and engaging discussion of the classic philosophical questions surrounding death, this book studies the great metaphysical and moral problems of death. In the first part, Feldman shows that a definition of life is necessary before death can be defined. After exploring several of the most plausible accounts of the nature of life and demonstrating their (...) failure, he goes on to propose his own conceptual scheme for death and related concepts. In the second part, Feldman turns to ethical and value-theoretical questions about death. Addressing the ancient Epicurean ethical problem about the evil of death, he argues that death can be a great evil for those who die, even if they do not exist after death, because it may deprive them of the goods they would have enjoyed if they had continued to live. Confrontations with the Reaper concludes with a novel consequentialist theory about the morality of killing, applying it to such thorny practical issues as abortion, suicide, and euthanasia. (shrink)
Thinking about death -- Dualism vs. physicalism -- Arguments for the existence of the soul -- Descartes' argument -- Plato on the immortality of the soul -- Personal identity -- Choosing between the theories -- The nature of death -- Two surprising claims about death -- The badness of death -- Immortality -- The value of life -- Other aspects of death -- Living in the face of death -- Suicide -- Conclusion: an invitation.
This book contributes to current bioethical debates by providing a critical analysis of the philosophy of human death. Bernard N. Schumacher discusses contemporary philosophical perspectives on death, creating a dialogue between phenomenology, existentialism, and analytic philosophy. He also examines the ancient philosophies that have shaped our current ideas about death. His analysis focuses on three fundamental problems: (1) the definition of human death, (2) the knowledge of mortality and of human death as such, and (3) (...) the question of whether death is "nothing" to us or, on the contrary, whether it can be regarded as an absolute or relative evil. Drawing on scholarship published in four languages and from three distinct currents of thought, this volume represents a comprehensive and systematic study of the philosophy of death, one that provides a provocative basis for discussions of the bioethics of human mortality. (shrink)
One of the big questions about death is what makes it bad. There is a busy industry devoted to this question, turning out answers and debating their merits. But the most famous response to it is that there is nothing bad about death. This view is traditionally associated with Epicurus, though whether he actually held it is doubtful. In any event, I will be concerned with the view and not the man.
In previous work we have defended the deprivation account of death’s badness against worries stemming from the Lucretian point that prenatal and posthumous nonexistence are deprivations of the same sort. In a recent article in this journal, Fred Feldman has offered an insightful critique of our Parfitian strategy for defending the deprivation account of death’s badness. Here we adjust, clarify, and defend our strategy for reply to Lucretian worries on behalf of the deprivation account.
In a world of rapid technological advances, the moral issues raised by life and death choices in healthcare remain obscure. Life and Death in Healthcare Ethics provides a concise, thoughtful and extremely accessible guide to these moral issues. Helen Watt examines, using real-life cases, the range of choices taken by healthcare professionals, patients and clients which lead to the shortening of life. The topics looked at include: euthanasia and withdrawal of treatment; the persistent vegetative state; abortion; IVF and (...) cloning; and life-saving treatment of pregnant women. (shrink)
I compare and assess two significant and opposing approaches to the self with respect to what they have to say about death: the anti-narrativist, as articulated by Galen Strawson, and the narrativist, as pieced together from a variety of accounts. Neither party fares particularly well on the matter of death. Both are unable to point towards a view of death that is clearly consistent with their views on the self. In the narrativist’s case this inconsistency is perhaps (...) not as explicit but is in the end more entrenched. (shrink)
Very Little ... Almost Nothing puts the question of the meaning of life back at the center of intellectual debate. Its central concern is how we can find a meaning to human finitude without recourse to anything that transcends that finitude. A profound but secular meditation on the theme of death, Critchley traces the idea of nihilism through Blanchot, Levinas, Jena Romanticism and Cavell, culminating in a reading of Beckett, in many ways the hero of the book. For this (...) Second Edition, Simon Critchley has added a revealing and extended new preface, and a new chapter on Wallace Stevens which reflects on the idea of poetry as philosophy. (shrink)
The ancient philosophical school of Epicureanism tried to argue that death is "nothing to us." Were they right? James Warren provides a comprehensive study and articulation of the interlocking arguments against the fear of death found not only in the writings of Epicurus himself, but also in Lucretius' poem De rerum natura and in Philodemus' work De morte. These arguments are central to the Epicurean project of providing ataraxia (freedom from anxiety) and therefore central to an understanding of (...) Epicureanism as a whole. They also offer significant resources for modern discussions of the value of death--one which stands at the intersection of metaphysics and ethics. If death is the end of the subject, and the subject can not be benefited nor harmed after death, is it reasonable nevertheless to fear the ceasing-to-be? If the Epicureans are not right to claim that the dead can neither be benefited nor harmed, what alternative models might be offered for understanding the harm done by death and do these alternatives suffer from any further difficulties? The discussion involves consideration of both ethical and metaphysical topics since it requires analysis not only of the nature of a good life but also the nature of personal identity and time. A number of modern philosophers have offered criticisms or defences of the Epicureans' views. Warren explores and evaluates these in the light of a systematic and detailed study of the precise form and intention of the Epicureans' original arguments. Warren argues that the Epicureans also were interested in showing that mortality is not to be regretted and that premature death is not to be feared. Their arguments for these conclusions are to be found in their positive conception of the nature of a good and complete life, which divorce the completeness of a life as far as possible from considerations of its duration. Later chapters investigate the nature of a life lived without the fear of death and pose serious problems for the Epicureans being able to allow any concern for the post mortem future and being able to offer a positive reason for prolonging a life which is already complete in their terms. (shrink)
American healthcare -- Bioterror and bioart -- State of emergency -- Licensed to torture -- Hunger strikes -- War -- Cancer -- Drug dealing -- Toxic tinkering -- Abortion -- Culture of death -- Patient safety -- Global health -- Statue of security -- Pandemic fear -- Bioidentifiers -- Genetic genocide.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction 1 -- 1. Transcending Mortality: Plato's Philosophy and Augustine's Theology 10 -- 2. Transcending the Void: Sex and Death in Sartre and Beauvoir's Existentialism 39 -- 3. Eros, Thanatos and the Human .Self: Sigmund Freud 60 -- 4. Sex and Death in a Meaningless Universe: The Marquis de Sade 80 -- 5. Living in Accordance with Nature: Seneca 104 -- Conclusion Sex, Death, and the Meaningful Life 126.
When I was fifteen, I was having serious doubts about the existence of a supernatural entity benevolently looking over me, and—perhaps even more disturbingly—about the possibility of an afterlife in which I would again see my friends and relatives and exist happily ever after. It was at that point that I started reading the writings of Bertrand Russell,1,2 one of the most controversial philosophers and political activists of the Twentieth century.
From Odysseus' seduction by the song of the Sirens to Oscar Moore's 1991 novel A Matter of Life and Sex , whose protagonist courts death through sex and dies of AIDS, the frustrated relationship between death and desire has fixated the Western imagination. Philosophers have grappled with it and poets have told of its beauty and pain. In this strikingly original work, cultural critic Jonathan Dollimore once again demonstrates his remarkable ability to take on the complex and reveal (...) its relevance with eloquence and grace. Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture is a rich testament to our ubiquitous preoccupation with the tangled web of death and desire. In these pages we find nuanced analysis that blends Plato with Shelley, Hölderlin with Foucault. Dollimore, a gifted thinker, is not content to summarize these texts from afar; instead, he weaves a thread through each to tell the magnificent story of the making of the modern individual. An immensely important book, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture is a challenge to the way we understand desire, sexuality, and the very notion of identity. (shrink)
This standard work in thanatology is updated with ten essays new to the second edition, and features a new introduction by Donnelly. The collection addresses certain basic issues inherent in a philosophy of death.
Proponents and opponents of the death penalty both typically assume that punishment, in some form or other, is justified, somehow or other, and that just punishment must in some sense be proportionate to the crime. These shared assumptions turn out to embarrass both parties. Proponents have to explain why certain prima facie proportionate punishments, such as torture, are off the table, while death remains, so to speak, on it. Opponents have to explain why their favored alternatives to capital (...) punishment, such as life without parole, are both proportionate to the worst crimes and not as bad as death. The commitment to proportionality makes trouble for both sides of the issue, and its resolution is unlikely until there is a satisfactory general account of proportionality in punishing. Such an account is nowhere in sight. (shrink)
Death is the opposite not of life, but of power. And as such, Mohammed Bamyeh argues in this original work, death has had a great and largely unexplored impact on the thinking of governance throughout history, right down to our day. In Of Death and Dominion Bamyeh pursues the idea that a deep concern with death is, in fact, the basis of the ideological foundations of all political systems. Concentrating on four types of political systems—polis, empire, (...) theocracy, and modern mass society systems—Bamyeh shows how each follows a specific strategy designed to pit power against the equalizing specter of death. Each of these strategies—consolation, expansion, preparation, and repression—produces a certain style of political behavior, as well as particular psychic traumas. In making his argument, Bamyeh revisits a wide range of empirical and theoretical discussions in existentialist philosophy, psychoanalysis, comparative historical sociology, literary studies, and anthropology. By demonstrating how schemes of power are by definition also schemes for defying death—despite their claims to the contrary—his book encourages us to think of a new style of politics, one oriented toward life. (shrink)
Since the 1980s, Islamic scholars and medical experts have used the tools of Islamic law to formulate ethico-legal opinions on brain death. These assessments have varied in their determinations and remain controversial. Some juridical councils such as the Organization of Islamic Conferences' Islamic Fiqh Academy (OIC-IFA) equate brain death with cardiopulmonary death, while others such as the Islamic Organization of Medical Sciences (IOMS) analogize brain death to an intermediate state between life and death. Still other (...) councils have repudiated the notion entirely. Similarly, the ethico-legal assessments are not uniform in their acceptance of brain-stem or whole-brain criteria for death, and consequently their conceptualizations of, brain death. Within the medical literature, and in the statements of Muslim medical professional societies, brain death has been viewed as sanctioned by Islamic law with experts citing the aforementioned rulings. Furthermore, health policies around organ transplantation and end-of-life care within the Muslim world have been crafted with consideration of these representative religious determinations made by transnational, legally-inclusive, and multidisciplinary councils. The determinations of these councils also have bearing upon Muslim clinicians and patients who encounter the challenges of brain death at the bedside. For those searching for ‘Islamically-sanctioned’ responses that can inform their practice, both the OIC-IFA and IOMS verdicts have palpable gaps in their assessments and remain clinically ambiguous. In this paper we analyze these verdicts from the perspective of applied Islamic bioethics and raise several questions that, if answered by future juridical councils, will better meet the needs of clinicians and bioethicists. (shrink)
This is a critical review of Death Penalties by constitutional scholar Raoul Berger. It rebuts Berger's argument that the Eighth Amendment "no cruel and unusual punishments" clause validates capital punishment.
The University of Michigan conference “Where Religion, Policy, and Bioethics Meet: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Islamic Bioethics and End-of-Life Care” in April 2011 addressed the issue of brain death as the prototype for a discourse that would reflect the emergence of Islamic bioethics as a formal field of study. In considering the issue of brain death, various Muslim legal experts have raised concerns over the lack of certainty in the scientific criteria as applied to the definition and diagnosis (...) of brain death by the medical community. In contrast, the medical community at large has not required absolute certainty in its process, but has sought to eliminate doubt through cumulative diagnostic modalities and supportive scientific evidence. This has recently become a principal model, with increased interest in data analysis and evidence-based medicine with the intent to analyze and ultimately improve outcomes. Islamic law has also long employed a systematic methodology with the goal of eliminating doubt from rulings regarding the question of certainty. While ample criticism of the scientific criteria of brain death (Harvard criteria) by traditional legal sources now exists, an analysis of the legal process in assessing brain death, geared toward informing the clinician’s perspective on the issue, is lacking. In this article, we explore the role of certainty in the diagnostic modalities used to establish diagnoses of brain death in current medical practice. We further examine the Islamic jurisprudential approach vis-à-vis the concept of certainty (yaqīn). Finally, we contrast the two at times divergent philosophies and consider what each perspective may contribute to the global discourse on brain death, understanding that the interdependence that exists between the theological, juridical, ethical, and medical/scientific fields necessitates an open discussion and active collaboration between all parties. We hope that this article serves to continue the discourse that was successfully begun by this initial interdisciplinary endeavor at the University of Michigan. (shrink)
Many believe that the ethical problems of donation after cardiocirculatory death (DCD) have been "worked out" and that it is unclear why DCD should be resisted. In this paper we will argue that DCD donors may not yet be dead, and therefore that organ donation during DCD may violate the dead donor rule. We first present a description of the process of DCD and the standard ethical rationale for the practice. We then present our concerns with DCD, including the (...) following: irreversibility of absent circulation has not occurred and the many attempts to claim it has have all failed; conflicts of interest at all steps in the DCD process, including the decision to withdraw life support before DCD, are simply unavoidable; potentially harmful premortem interventions to preserve organ utility are not justifiable, even with the help of the principle of double effect; claims that DCD conforms with the intent of the law and current accepted medical standards are misleading and inaccurate; and consensus statements by respected medical groups do not change these arguments due to their low quality including being plagued by conflict of interest. Moreover, some arguments in favor of DCD, while likely true, are "straw-man arguments," such as the great benefit of organ donation. The truth is that honesty and trustworthiness require that we face these problems instead of avoiding them. We believe that DCD is not ethically allowable because it abandons the dead donor rule, has unavoidable conflicts of interests, and implements premortem interventions which can hasten death. These important points have not been, but need to be fully disclosed to the public and incorporated into fully informed consent. These are tall orders, and require open public debate. Until this debate occurs, we call for a moratorium on the practice of DCD. (shrink)
Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics offers a highly distinctive and original approach to the metaphysics of death and applies this approach to contemporary debates in bioethics that address end-of-life and post-mortem issues.
Introduction -- Part I: The meaning of life -- Richard Taylor, The meaning of life -- Thomas Nagel, The absurd -- Richard Hare, Nothing matters -- W.D. Joske, Philosophy and the meaning of life -- Robert Nozick, Philosophy and the meaning of life -- David Schmidtz, The meanings of life -- Part II: Creating people -- Derek Parfit, Whether causing someone to exist can benefit this person -- John Leslie, Why not let life ecome extinct? -- James Lenman, On becoming (...) extinct -- David Benatar, Why it is better never to come into existence -- Part III: Death -- Stephen E. Rosenbaum, How to be dead and not care : a defense of epicurus -- GeorgePpitcher, The misfortunes of the dead -- Steven Luper, Annihilation -- Fred Fldman, Some puzzles about the evil of death -- Frederick Kaufman, Pre-vital and post-mortem non-existence -- David B. Suits, Why death is not bad for the one who died -- Part IV: Suicide -- David Hume, Of suicide -- Immanuel Kant, Suicide and duty -- David Benatar, Suicide : a qualified defence -- Part V: Immortality -- James Lenman, Immortality : a letter -- Bernard Williams, The Makropulos case : reflections on the tedium of immortality -- John Martin Fischer, Why immortality is not so bad -- Christine Overall, from here to eternity : is it good to live forever? -- Part VI: Optimism and pessimism -- Margaret A. Boden, Optimism -- Michaelis Michael and Peter Caldwell, The consolations of optimism -- Bruce N. Waller, The sad truth : optimism, pessimism, and pragmatism -- Arthur Schopenhauer, On the suffering of the world. (shrink)
Integrating theory with case studies, this book examines the practical application of moral theory in clinical decision-making through 40 composite cases based on actual clinical experience. Complex, realistic, and challenging, these examples contain the multiplicity of factors faced in clinical crises, making this a superb exploration of the ways in which theory relates to actual life-or-death situations.
Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Egypt focused on organ transplantation, this paper examines the ways in which the “scientific” criteria of determining death in terms of brain function are contested by Egyptian doctors. Whereas in North American medical practice, the death of the “person” is associated with the cessation of brain function, in Egypt, any sign of biological life is evidence of the persistence, even if fleeting, of the soul. I argue that this difference does (...) not exemplify an irresolvable culture clash but points to an unsettling aspect of cadaveric organ procurement that has emerged wherever organ transplantation is practiced. Further, I argue that a misdiagnosis of the problem, as one about “religious extremism” or a “civilizational clash,” has obfuscated unresolved concerns about fairness, access, and justice within Egyptian medical spheres. This misdiagnosis has led to the suspension of a cadaveric procurement program for over 30 years, despite Egypt’s pioneering efforts in kidney transplantation. (shrink)
Materializing absence, Jenny Hockey, Carol Komaromy and Kate Woodthorpe -- Never say die: CPR in hospital space, Susie Page -- Making hospice space, Ken Worpole -- Dying spaces in dying places, Carol Komaromy -- The materialities of absence after stillbirth: historical perspectives, Jan Bleyen -- Distributed personhood and the transformation of agency: an anthropological perspective on inquests, Susan Langer -- Behind closed doors? corpses and mourners in English and American funeral premises, Sheila Harper -- Private grief in public spaces: interpreting (...) memorialisation in the contemporary cemetary, Kate Woodthorpe -- Wandering lines and cul-de-sacs: trajectories of ashes in the United Kingdom, Leonie Kellaher, Jenny Hockey and David Prendergast -- Natural burial: the de-materialising of death?, Andy Clayden, Jenny Hockey and Mark Powell -- What will the neighbours say? reactions to field and garden burial, Tony Walter and Clare Gittings -- Memorialising the suicide victim: "walking the walk," Caroline Simone -- Potent reminders: an examination of responses to roadside memorials in Ireland, Una McConville and Regina McQuillan -- Geographies of the spirit world, Douglas J. Davies -- Recovering presence, Jenny Hockey, Carol Komaromy and Kate Woodthorpe. (shrink)
This remarkable book--the fruit of almost two decades of study--traces in compelling fashion the changes in Western attitudes toward death and dying from the earliest Christian times to the present day. A truly landmark study, The Hour of Our Death reveals a pattern of gradually developing evolutionary stages in our perceptions of life in relation to death, each stage representing a virtual redefinition of human nature. Starting at the very foundations of Western culture, the eminent historian Phillipe (...) Aries shows how, from Graeco-Roman times through the first ten centuries of the Common Era, death was too common to be frightening; each life was quietly subordinated to the community, which paid its respects and then moved on. Aries identifies the first major shift in attitude with the turn of the eleventh century when a sense of individuality began to rise and with it, profound consequences: death no longer meant merely the weakening of community, but rather the destruction of self. Hence the growing fear of the afterlife, new conceptions of the Last Judgment, and the first attempts (by Masses and other rituals) to guarantee a better life in the next world. In the 1500s attention shifted from the demise of the self to that of the loved one (as family supplants community), and by the nineteenth century death comes to be viewed as simply a staging post toward reunion in the hereafter. Finally, Aries shows why death has become such an unendurable truth in our own century--how it has been nearly banished from our daily lives--and points out what may be done to "re-tame" this secret terror. The richness of Aries's source material and investigative work is breathtaking. While exploring everything from churches, religious rituals, and graveyards (with their often macabre headstones and monuments), to wills and testaments, love letters, literature, paintings, diaries, town plans, crime and sanitation reports, and grave robbing complaints, Aries ranges across Europe to Russia on the one hand and to England and America on the other. As he sorts out the tangled mysteries of our accumulated terrors and beliefs, we come to understand the history--indeed the pathology--of our intellectual and psychological tensions in the face of death. (shrink)
This collection of seventeen essays deals with the metaphysical, as opposed to the moral, issues pertaining to death. For example, the authors investigate (among other things) the issue of what makes death a bad thing for an individual, if indeed death is a bad thing. This issue is more basic and abstract than such moral questions as the particular conditions under which euthanasia is justified, if it is ever justified. Though there are important connections between the more (...) abstract questions addressed in this book and many contemporary moral issues, such as euthanasia, suicide, and abortion, the primary focus of this book is on metaphysical issues concerning the nature of death: What is the nature of the harm or bad involved in death? (If it is not pain, what is it, and how can it be bad?) Who is the subject of the harm or bad? (If the person is no longer alive, how can he be the subject of the bad? And if he is not the subject, who is? Can one have harm with no subject?) When does the harm take place? (Can a harm take place after its subject ceases to exist? If death harms a person, can the harm take place before the death occurs?) If death can be a bad thing, would immortality be a desirable alternative? This family of questions helps to frame the puzzle of why - and how - death is bad. Other subjects addressed include the Epicurean view that death is not a misfortune and benefit; the meaningfulness and value of life; and the distinction between the life of a person and the life of a living creature who is not a person. There is an extensive bibliography that includes science-fiction treatments of death and immortality. (shrink)
Offers over forty stories about individuals who have dealt with the loss of a loved one, and advice on handling situations surrounding death and dying such as talking with children about grief, suicide, and funeral arrangements.
Preliminary expectoration -- Alas a dirty third: the logic of death -- Thomas Bernhard's rant -- Following Sebald -- Tickling the corpse: Tom Stoppard's memento mori -- Don Rickles's rant -- Too late, my brothers -- Re: Barth.
The utilitarian construct of two alternative criteria of human death increases the supply of transplantable organs at the end of life. Neither the neurological criterion (heart-beating donation) nor the circulatory criterion (non-heart-beating donation) is grounded in scientific evidence but based on philosophical reasoning. A utilitarian death definition can have unintended consequences for dying Muslim patients: (1) the expedited process of determining death for retrieval of transplantable organs can lead to diagnostic errors, (2) the equivalence of brain (...) class='Hi'>death with human death may be incorrect, and (3) end-of-life religious values and traditional rituals may be sacrificed. Therefore, it is imperative to reevaluate the two different types and criteria of death introduced by the Resolution (Fatwa) of the Council of Islamic Jurisprudence on Resuscitation Apparatus in 1986. Although we recognize that this Fatwa was based on best scientific evidence available at that time, more recent evidence shows that it rests on outdated knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of human death. We recommend redefining death in Islam to reaffirm the singularity of this biological phenomenon as revealed in the Quran 14 centuries ago. (shrink)
The new commandments according to Rethinking Life and Death . --If you must take human life, take responsibility for the consequences of your decisions. --All human life is not of equal worth treat beings in accordance to the ethical situation at hand. --Respect a person's desire to live or die. A profound and provocative work, Rethinking Life and Death , in the tradition of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World , examines the ethical dilemmas that confront us as we (...) near the twenty-first century. (shrink)
Over the centuries, the idea of the self has both fascinated and confounded philosophers. From the ancient Greeks, who problematized issues of identity and self-awareness, to Locke and Hume, who popularized minimalist views of the self, to the efforts of postmodernists in our time to decenter the human subject altogether, the idea that there is something called a self has always been in steady decline. But for Richard Sorabji, one of our most celebrated living intellectuals, this negation of the self (...) is dispiriting. In Self , he sets out to recover the rich variety of positive accounts of the self from Antiquity right up to the present, while offering his own inspiring view of what precisely the self might be. Drawing on Eastern religion, classical antiquity, and Western philosophy, Sorabji proceeds to tackle a number of thematic debates that have preoccupied philosophers over the ages, including the concept of the self, its sameness and mutability, the idea of the resurrection of the body and spirit, and the fear of death. According to Sorabji, the self is not an undetectable soul or ego, but an embodied individual whose existence is plain to see. It is also neither a linguistic creation nor a psychological fiction, but something that owns both a consciousness and a body. Ultimately, Sorabji argues, the demise of a positive idea of the self stems from much older and more pervasive problems of identity than we realize. Through an astute reading of this tradition, he helps us come to terms with our uneasiness about the subject in an account that will be at the forefront of philosophical debates for years to come. (shrink)
Literary Nonfiction. Philosophy. Winner of the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Award. Translated from the German by Michael Eskin. In this penetrating, thought-provoking, and deeply personal philosophical meditation on the death of the beloved other and the turmoil into which it throws those who were close to him, philosopher Kathrin Stengel opens hitherto unseen vistas onto one of the most painful human experiences. The author's ruthless clarity of observation, coupled with razor-sharp philosophical intuition and unflinching honesty of judgment, allows her (...) to pinpoint the personal and social complexities of life after death in a way that cannot but make us doubt some of our common practices in dealing with death and survival. Kathrin Stengel, Ph.D., is a philosopher residing in New York City with her husband and their three sons. Also available from SPD is the German language edition of this text, NOVEMBER-ROSE: EINE REDE UEBER DEN TOD. (shrink)
This paper contrasts Kierkegaard's response to Epicurean indifference to death in "At a Graveside" with attempts in contemporary analytic philosophy to overcome Epicurus' challenge to the rationality of fearing death. I argue that attempts by Nagel, Pitcher, Feinberg etc. to show why death is a harm rely on a narrative understanding of life that, according to Kierkegaard, is unavailable with respect to one's own death. Kierkegaard's approach, by contrast, involves becoming phenomenally co-present with one's own (...) class='Hi'>death via a specific mode of "earnest" contemplation. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I -- Doctors -- Dr. Joseph Messer -- Dr. Sharon Sandell -- ER -- Dr. John Barrett -- Marc and Noreen Levison, a paramedic and a nurse -- Lloyd (Pete) Haywood, a former gangbanger -- Claire Hellstern, a nurse -- Ed Reardon, a paramedic -- Law and Order -- Robert Soreghan, a homicide detective -- Delbert Lee Tibbs, a former death-row inmate -- War -- Dr. Frank Raila -- Haskell Wexler, a cinematographer -- Tammy (...) Snider, a Hiroshima survivor (hibakusha) -- Mothers and Sons -- V.I.M. (Victor Israel Marquez), a Vietnam vet -- Angelina Rossi, his mother -- Guadalupe Reyes, a mother -- God's Shepherds -- Rev. Willie T. Barrow -- Father Leonard Dubi -- Rabbi Robert Marx -- Pastor Tom Kok -- Rev. Ed Townley -- The Stranger -- Rick Rundle, a city sanitation worker -- Part II -- Seeing Things -- Randy Buescher, an associate architect -- Chaz Ebert, a lawyer -- Antoinette Korotko-Hatch, a church worker -- Karen Thompson, a student -- Dimitri Mihalas, an astronomer and physicist -- A View from the Bridge -- Hank Oettinger, a retired printer -- Ira Glass, a radio journalist -- Kid Pharaoh, a retired "collector" -- Quinn Brisben, a retired teacher -- Kurt Vonnegut, a writer -- The Boomer -- Bruce Bendinger, an advertising executive and writer -- Part III -- Fathers and Sons -- Doc Watson, a folksinger -- Vernon Jarrett, a journalist -- Country Women -- Peggy Terry, a retired mountain woman -- Bessie Jones, a Georgia Sea Island Singer (1972) -- Rosalie Sorrels, a traveling folksinger -- The Plague I -- Tico Valle, a young man -- Lori Cannon, "curator" of the Open Hand Society -- Brian Matthews, an ex-bartender, writer for a gay weekly -- Jewell Jenkins, a hospital aide -- Justin Hayford, a journalist, musician -- Matta Kelly, a case manager -- The Old Guy -- Jim Hapgood -- The Plague II -- Nancy Lanoue -- Out There -- Dr. Gary Slutkin -- Day of the Dead -- Carlos Cortez, a painter and poet -- Vine Deloria, a writer and teacher -- Helen Sclair, a cemetery familiar -- The Other Son -- Steve Young, a father -- Maurine Young, a mother -- The Job -- William Herdegen, an undertaker -- Rory Moina, a hospice nurse -- The End and the Beginning -- Mamie Mobley, a mother -- Dr. Marvin Jackson, a son -- Epilogue -- Kathy Fagan and Linda Gagnon, mothers. (shrink)
LeShan L. and LeShan, E. Psychotherapy and the patient with a limited life span.--Kubler-Ross, E. On death and dying.--Kutscher, A. H. Anticipatory grief, death, and bereavement: a continuum.--Needleman, J. The moment of grief.--Lifton, R. J. On death and death symbolism: the Hiroshima disaster.--Nelson, B. The games of life and dances of death.--Sleeper, R. The resurrection of the body.--Friedman, M. Death and the dialogue with the absurd.--Wyschogrod, E. Sport, death, and the elemental.--Lamont, R. The (...) double apprenticeship: life and the process of dying--Selected bibliography (p. 225-235). (shrink)
What is the meaning of life? In the post-modern, post-religious scientific world, this question is becoming a preoccupation. But it also has a long history: many major figures in philosophy had something to say on the subject. This book begins with an historical overview of philosophers from Plato to Hegel and Marx who have believed in some sort of meaning of life, either in some supposed "other" world or in the future of this world. Young goes on to look at (...) what happened when the traditional structures that provided life with meaning ceased to be believed. (shrink)
For most us, learning which quantum theory correctly describes human bodies will not affect our attitudes towards our loved ones. On the other hand, a child’s discovery of the nature of meat (or an adult’s discovery of the nature of soylent green) can have a great effect. In still other cases, it is hard to say how one would, or should, react to new information about the underlying nature of what we value—think of how mixed our reactions are to evidence (...) of cultural determinism or atheism, or of how mixed our reactions would be to learning that we all live in the Matrix. (Indeed, maybe there is no objective fact about how we should react. Derek Parfit’s (1984, section 95) fear of death diminished when he became convinced of certain theses about the metaphysics of personal identity. Perhaps there is no objective fact of the matter as to whether this was rational; perhaps it was rational for him but would not be for others.) What can metaphysics contribute to the question of the evil of death? It cannot, on its own, settle the question, since there is no simple rule telling us how to adjust value in light of new information about underlying nature. Given a clear view of the nature of death, there will remain the question of its disvalue. However, metaphysics can help us attain this clear view. Moreover, a clear conception of what metaphysical positions do and don’t say, and a clear conception of how metaphysics works in general, can remove impediments to a rational appraisal of the evil of death. (shrink)
Examining Levinas's critique of the Heideggerian conception of temporality, this book shows how the notion of the feminine both enables and prohibits the most fertile territory of Levinas's thought. The author suggests that though Levinas's conception of subjectivity corrects some of the problems Heidegger's philosophy introduces, such as his failure to deal adequately with ethics, Levinas creates new stumbling blocks, notably the confining role he accords to the feminine. For Levinas, the feminine functions as that which facilitates but is excluded (...) from the ethical relation that he sees as the pinnacle of philosophy. Showing that the feminine is a strategic part of Levinas's philosophy, but one that was not thought through by him, the author suggests that his failure to solidly place the feminine in his thinking is structurally consonant with his conceptual separation of politics from ethics. (shrink)
In The Ethics of Authorship, Daniel Berthold depicts G. W. F. Hegel and Søren Kierkegaard as endorsing two postmodern principles. The first is an ethical ideal. Authors should abdicate their traditional privileged position as arbiters of their texts’ meaning. They should allow readers to determine this meaning for themselves. Only by doing so will they help readers attain genuine selfhood. The second principle is a claim about language. To wit, language cannot express an author’s thoughts. I argue that if the (...) claim about language holds, the ethical ideal becomes superfluous. In addition, if Berthold has identified Hegel and Kierkegaard’s views regarding the issues in question by reading their works, then either they failed to execute their ethical project or their views about language are false. (shrink)
ACHAKYA RAJNEESH Acharya Rajneesh is an Enlightened One, who has become one with the infinity, the totality. He is NOT, but the infinity breathes through him. He is not a person but the divinity personified. Transcendental Truth shines ...
In this book, C. G. Prado addresses the difficult question of when and whether it is rational to end one’s life in order to escape devastating terminal illness. He specifically considers this question in light of the impact of multiculturalism on perceptions and judgments about what is right and wrong, permissible and impermissible. Prado introduces the idea of a “coincidental culture” to clarify the variety of values and commitments that influence decision. He also introduces the idea of a “proxy premise” (...) to deal with reasoning issues that are raised by intractably held beliefs. Primarily intended for medical ethicists, this book will be of interest to anyone concerned about the ability of modern medicine to keep people alive, thereby forcing people to choose between living and dying. In addition, Prado calls upon medical ethicists and practitioners to appreciate the value of a theoretical basis for their work. (shrink)
The last half century has seen both attempts to demythologize the idea of God into purely secular forces and the resurgence of the language of “God” as indispensable to otherwise secular philosophers for describing experience. This volume asks whether “piety” might be a sort of irreducible human problematic: functioning both inside and outside religion.S. Clark Buckner works in San Francisco as an artist, critic, and curator. He is the gallery director (...) at Mission 17 and publishes regularly in Artweek and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. Matthew Statler is the Director of Research at the Imagination Lab Foundation in Lausanne, Switzerland. His current research is focused on practical wisdom as it pertains to organizational phenomena such as strategy making and leadership. He also has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. (shrink)
This study focuses on the ancient commentaries on Plato’s Phaedo by Olympiodorus and Damascius and aims to present the relevance of their challenging and valuable readings of the dialogue to Neoplatonic ethics.